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Civic coalition trying to prohibit same-gender marriage in Costa Rica

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – A civic coalition opposed to LGBT rights has formed in Costa Rica with the goal of rewriting the national constitution to prohibit same-gender marriage.

Civic Movement for the Rescue of Marriage (aka REMA), backed by Roman Catholic Church leaders and other religious groups including an ultra-conservative Protestant movement, fear that the recently revised Article 52 of Title V on the constitution has legalized marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

Article 52 states:

“Marriage is the essential foundation of the family; it rests upon the equal rights of spouses.”

Lawmakers recently “accidentally approved” the change in language to “spouses” and legal authorities said the alteration could open the door to same-gender weddings. Some lawmakers claimed that they were duped into voting for the change. President Laura Chinchilla, who is in favor of marriage equality, ignored pleas to veto the bill and approved the measure.

Since then, legal experts have been debating whether same-gender marriage is legal in Costa Rica.

REMA is now trying to collect 155,000 signatures to force the National Assembly to amend Article 52 yet again to say:

“Marriage is the union between a man and a woman, it rests upon the equal rights of spouses, and it is the essential foundation of the family.”

So far, REMA has collected about 20,000 signatures, according to the Costa Rica Star. The newspaper said REMA leaders are not opposed to gay civil unions but want to prohibit same-gender marriage.